In the past, women with breast cancer were often advised to go home and ‘get back to normal’ after their treatment ended. We now know that what’s ‘normal’ after cancer is often new and different, though not necessarily better or worse.
At this time, many women reflect on their life and what is important to them. Some will want to close the book on cancer and focus on other areas of their life. Others will want to find ways to turn a negative experience into one that has some benefit for themselves or others.
I am continually amazed by people who want to give back after their own breast cancer experience, or that of a friend or family member. Within our network, I can find examples of this every single day of the week. They run support groups, make donations, contribute to our online network, hold events, represent us on committees, promote our services to their community, and much more.
In this issue of The Beacon, we share just some of the ways people are giving back.
Many of those who look to give back after their breast cancer experience want to help others who share their diagnosis. Some are grateful for the support they received, and want to support other women in the same way. Others identify areas of their journey that could be improved and feel the need to lobby for change to better the situation for other women.
Our founder Lyn Swinburne falls into the latter. Lyn founded BCNA after her experience following her breast cancer diagnosis in 1993 left her frustrated and angry that a system that was meant to be working for women really wasn’t working for them.
Lyn has previously said she has always been keen on the Chinese proverb, ‘Better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness’. What initially began as one everyday woman lighting one small candle has grown to the biggest support network for Australians affected by breast cancer.
I am very excited to announce that we will bring our network together to mark 20 years of BCNA with a Field of Women. The event will be held in 2018 in Melbourne.
Work is underway with many partners, including the AFL, to ensure it is a great experience for participants.
We need a record 18,235 people to stand on the ground, representing the number of people who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018. I do hope you will all join us. Read of Field of Women article for more details.
On behalf of the team at BCNA, I wish you a happy, safe and healthy festive season and New Year.
Chief Executive Officer